In the world of coffee roasting, there are a few things which set us apart...
> 1. Freshness: this means you will rarely see anything on our shelves over a week off roast.
2. Small batch: we roast in 4kg batches - this allows unparalleled thermal control over roasting. Allowing us to craft coffees with natural sweetness and explosive flavour.
3. No dark roasts: dark roasting carbonizes the woody matrix of the bean - cooking out naturally occurring flavour oils, and scorching any starches/sugars, and leaving behind a flat, bitter, smoky taste.
4. High grade coffee: Virtually all our coffee is grade 1 or higher, meaning a very low level of defects or off-tastes. High grades are the result of buying from farmers who take great pride in the quality of production. Defects notes might include: bitter, resinous, astringent, moldy, skunky, woodsy, flat, charred or dull.
5. Full Circle Sustainability: the majority of our coffee is bought at prices 100-300% higher than fair-trade price. We do from time to time buy fair-trade certified coffee, but this returns a lower price per lb to the farmer compared to our other coffees. Of the former, virtually all of it is produced by smallholder farmers with 5-10 hectares of land. Smallholder farmers usually do not certify as they already receive a higher price than FT price. Incidentally, the certification fee may represent 25%-75% of their net profit in a year.
We buy from these smallholder often because they are the best stewards for their land, are most likely to use traditional organic coffee farming methods and we pay them a significant premium to ensure they and their children are excited to continue growing quality coffee into the future. We do this because its right - not because its a marketing exercise. We want to ensure there is a future for quality coffee.
6. Seasonal coffees: we only sell coffee from the most recent available harvest since green coffee's freshness is dramatically reduced after 8-12 months. By midway through a current season we will intentionally sell out of the previous season as the best coffee generally comes from mid to late harvest.
7. Roast profiling: this is the scientific approach to coffee roasting, where we manipulate the variables of roasting such as batch size, airflow, heat and heating method (conduction vs convection). Our aim is maximize sweetness of a coffee, and optimize a coffee's naturally occurring flavour. Every coffee we roast uses a unique approach.
8. Cupping scores: cupping is the method of evaluation, similar to the approach of wine tasters. Nuance, structure, complexity, aroma, sweetness and lack of defect contribute to a high score. Our coffee generally scores in the high 80s to low 90s. Truly excetional coffees score mid-90s and in a given year, there are only a handful of coffees around the world scoring 95 or higher. Likewise, these high scoring coffees come at a steep price tag - but we tend to enjoy them as a once a year treat instead of as a daily coffee.
9. Espresso: we have a special distinction in our style of espresso roasting. Unlike many of the big high-end third wave brands we refer to our espresso as a dynamic profile instead of the static profile preferred by the majority of third wave roasters. Whereas their aim is to roast to a degree where the home user is likely to produce the same flavour at a variety of brewing temperatures, doses and grind settings, our MK6 espresso is designed to respond to a skilled barista's input. You can craft the taste to a wider extent by manipulating grind fineness, dose and brew temperature. Dose more and grind coarser and watch the coffee become more fruity, or dose less and grind finer to emphasize chocolate-like notes.
10. The most important of all: we love exceptional coffee and want to share it in its many forms with you.
Our Roaster, Ambex YM-5, at our Lauriston St warehouse.